Meet the MD: Jon Proctor of Green Tourism

Meet the MD: Jon Proctor of Green Tourism

John Proctor is the MD of sustainable certification programme, Green Tourism. He talked to BQ about sustainable tourism, managing a team and planning for the future of the business.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

Ultimately I’m the main representative for Green Tourism’s vision and delivering our technical objectives of reducing carbon and increasing Green Tourism accredited businesses. My role involves managing the Technical Team to ensure we maintain technical standards, co-ordinating and conducting audits in different destinations around the world, creating and establishing new products and services and presenting talks to educate and inspire people into implementing good sustainable practice simply and effectively by using our tool kits.


What is it the company does?

Green Tourism is the market leading sustainable certification programme in the UK and Internationally within hospitality and tourism sectors.  Businesses are graded by a qualified assessor against a rigorous set of criteria that cover a range of areas such as energy and water efficiency, waste management, biodiversity and social involvement and communication. Business types include accommodation providers, visitor attractions, activity centres and corporate offices among many others.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I’ve always been involved in environmental roles, starting my career as a country park ranger.  After becoming a local authority project officer for environmental projects I then moved to work for Friends of the Earth in Manchester. After that I moved up to Shetland to set up the Shetland Environmental Agency doing environmental consultancy for the industry in Scotland and helping with the formation of an anti-pollution association called KIMO. In running that company we did a lot of work on energy savings particularly with Hydro Electric and the Government in the 90’s.  Following this Andrea and I, from an office in Perth, developed and established the Green Tourism Programme a green rating scheme for hotels and tourism operators in Scotland.  Over the last 20 years we’ve been developing Green Tourism tools and products across the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Ireland and Italy.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

Good listening skills, a positive attitude to everyone and everything and a firm vision – the ability to see how things are evolving and how you can evoke change to achieve your vision.  However, at the end of the day a good leader can’t do anything on their own, it doesn’t matter how good you are individually, it’s how well you can get other people to share the same vision.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Keeping myself organised on a day-to-day basis, I sometimes struggle with multi-tasking as I can get bogged down in detail and sometimes there is a lot of stress that comes with my job.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

Sharing a problem with the team and making it a team effort is one of the best ways to alleviate stress.  Preparation is always the best way to avoid it in the first place – I’ve learnt that the hard way!


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be like Gerald Durrell


Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?

One pet hate is when people leave lots of washing up or litter lying around - if that happens I usually end up tidying it away myself.


Where do you see the company in five years time?

I see Green Tourism being further recognised as the go-to standard for sustainability and that we are seen as essential to businesses in helping them enhance their green operations. I would also like to see our website as a valuable tool for consumers to identify green businesses.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Don’t follow the money, follow the dream. The money will follow.